Dear 100 Hour Board,
I have frequent tension headaches. I'm trying to find alternatives to pills for relief, so I've started using Salonpas patches. These help a lot, but they have a strong menthol smell, so I don't want to use them when I'm at work or around others since they probably won't appreciate the scent. Any ideas for something that provides similar benefits but won't disturb everyone around me?
If you're around the same people when you work each day, you could always ask if they'd be okay with the smell. Who knows, maybe they wouldn't mind it and you'll be able to use them at work!
A really interesting study found that patients with frequent tension headaches found hypnotic-relaxation therapy more effective than the typical pills doctors prescribed. (That site even includes how to do it yourself!) So it looks like relaxation to stop your tension might end your headaches. You might also be careful about how much sleep you get—lack of sleep can cause tension and stress and is overall just a bad idea. You know, even if decreasing your stress and getting more sleep doesn't help your headaches, you should definitely do them.
There's some more good suggestions on this site. I would also suggest talking to your doctor about this—he or she would have better suggestions and know what would work most effectively for you.
Finally, while this may not be the answer to your problem, I've been in the same boat you're in but found my problem disappeared once I got glasses. Apparently seeing the world slightly blurry/squinting to make things clearer (even when you're not aware that's what's happening—I thought I had 20/20 eyesight until I tried on my roommate's glasses and discovered a whole new world) can give you constant tension headaches. I don't wear my glasses all the time, but when I feel a headache coming on I whip them out and—boom—headache disappears.
Hopefully something here will be useful to you!
-guppy of doom